Created for Isabella I, Queen of Spain: a masterpiece by Alexander Bening, Gerard David, and other great names from the Ghent-Bruges School

Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain

Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain

Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain

  1. An incredible collaboration of the greatest illuminators of the Ghent-Bruges school originated ca. 1504

  2. Alexander Bening, Gerard David, and numerous other masters created this codex for Queen Isabella I (1451-1504)

  3. The masters employed the trompe-l'oeil technique, making the images appear particularly realistic

Isabella la Catholica Book of Hours

Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain

“D” Initial and Floral Frame

Aside from the fine miniature of this manuscript, it is also famous for the incredibly rich frames that are found surrounding text and painting alike. Although not a botanical manuscript, the frames boast some of the most accurate and naturalistic depictions of flowers up to this point in art history. To populate these tendril frames, insects are drawn with similar realism – two moths in the case of this text page. No space can be left unadorned in a royal manuscript.

Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain

Alternative Titles:
  • Stundenbuch der Isabel la Catolica - Königin von Spanien
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The most famous illuminators of the Ghent-Bruges school cooperated with one another for the Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic and in doing so created a highpoint of Flemish illumination between 1500 and 1504. Alexander Benning (d. 1519), Gerard David (ca. 1460-1523), the Master of the Older Prayer Book of Emperor Maximilian I, the Master of James IV of Scotland, and the Master of the Prayer Books ca. 1500 furnished the 23.5 x 17.3 cm parchment manuscript with 40 full-page and 10 half-page miniatures, 24 calendar medallions, and more than 300 marginal decorations. Particularly great attention was paid by the painters to the frames, which were bustling with charming insects, birds, and the most varied flowers. The enchanting butterflies stand out from the bright blossoms and seem to fly out toward the beholder thanks to an illusionary effect.

Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain

The splendid Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic represents a true highpoint of Flemish illumination. Between 1500 and 1504, the most famous illuminators of the Ghent-Bruges school furnished the 558 page parchment manuscript with 40 full-page and 10 half-page miniatures, 24 calendar medallions, and more than 300 marginal decorations. The combination of a calendar, a Marian Office, Office of the Dead, the Penitential Psalms, the Litany, and additional prayers is very characteristic of a book of hours.

A Partnership of the Best

The great importance Queen Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504) placed on the precious manuscript as its recipient can be seen in the list of participating artists. At least half of the miniatures can be attributed to the famous painter Alexander Bening (d. 1519), while the others originate from Gerard David (ca. 1460-1523, the Master of the Older Prayer Book of Emperor Maximilian I, the Master of James IV of Scotland and the Master of the Prayer Books ca. 1500.

Enchantingly Decorated Frames and Virtuoso Miniatures

Both the iconographic as well as the decorative apparatus of the miniatures and marginal decoration represent the idyllic landscape in the Flemish style ca. 1500 with its artful blossoms. The various flowers frolic together with butterflies, birds, and writhing acanthus leaves on a colored background. By using the trompe-l'oeil technique, they appear particularly realistic to the viewer.

The Lover of Magnificent Books

It is generally known that Queen Isabella of Castile was a great lover of Flemish art and splendid religious books in particular. She preserved numerous costly manuscripts in her private library in Madrid’s Alcazar. The first page already indicates that this gorgeously furnished book of hours belonged to her collection, which shows both the escutcheon as well as the Queen’s motto together with her and Ferdinand’s emblem.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Stundenbuch der Isabel la Catolica - Königin von Spanien
Isabella la Catholica Book of Hours

Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain

Virgin Lactans

This miniature was created by one of the great team of masters responsible for this exceptional work and has all the detail of a panel. The serene baby Jesus looks as though he just awoke from a nap and is depicted with a small belly being held by Mary. Both mother and child have subtle golden halos with that of the baby Jesus being more elaborate.

The Virgin Mary is depicted with long golden-blonde hair, pursed red lips, and large eyes that are turned downward at her child. Her face is contemplative and focused as she squeezes her nipple to initiate the flow of milk. The subjects fill the frame and are presented with a simple but radiant orange-yellow background. It is a remarkably natural and realistic depiction.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain“

Isabella la Catholica Book of Hours
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
Book of Hours of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Spain – MS 21/63.256 – Museum of Art (Cleveland, USA)
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Isabella la Catholica Book of Hours

Publisher
Faksimile Verlag – Munich, 2013
Price Category: €€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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